By Wandee (Lekky) Iamyoung
A map of Bangkok’s a confusing thing. Street addresses don’t make sense, suburb names are arbitrary, and good luck finding the definitive official English spelling of anything. I’ve spent dinners arguing about “Aree” versus “Ari”, where Asok ends and Phrom Phong begins, and what to call the general area known as Srinakarin and Patanakarn roads. Every property agent defines Bangkok’s districts differently, and if you’re Thai then it looks completely different again.
1D Property focuses on expats (mostly) so we look at everything from that point of view. Our property search tool defines 9 distinct neighbourhoods that are popular with expats, and I’ve created a map that you can click on above. Our 9 may not technically be strictly correct according to the local council but we believe they represent the most reasonable ‘best fit’ description for the purposes of finding a home in Bangkok. Our 9 neighbourhoods are based more on common traits, perceptions, lifestyles and behaviours of types of expats than a strict definition according to Google. This is particularly true of Sukhumvit road where most expats broadly agree there are 3 distinct parts – lower, middle and upper Sukhumvit – each appealing to a quite different resident. It used to be just 2 – lower and upper – but Sukhumvit is evolving so quickly that Middle Sukhumvit (defined by us as BTS Phrom Phong to BTS Ekkamai) has now become a
goldfish bowl ecosystem unto itself.
The common thread between our 9 neighbourhoods is the BTS Skytrain and MRT subway because that’s the most typical enquiry we receive. For many of our customers, their world revolves around the BTS and MRT: “Got anything within 15 meters of BTS Asok exit 3?” or “Thonglor….yes, BTS Thong Lo. Where did you think I meant??”
Another common search term is: “Help! I need to drop off my kids at Bangkok Patana international school”, which is why we lumped several very distinct districts into a single enormous area called “Bang Na & Surrounds”, which includes (controversially) Srinakarin and Pattanakarn roads. Sure, they’re different but, based on our experience large expat school-going families are often looking for very the same thing – a large freestanding house with a garden in a secure gated community with plenty of room for the kids and pets, parking for 2 cars and a maid’s quarters, and close to the expressway so dad’s driver can get him to the office inside an hour. That’s why “Bang Na & Surrounds” is the only one of the 9 neighbourhoods that isn’t defined by it’s proximity to the BTS or MRT!
The 9 neighbourhoods in brief:
- Lower Sukhumvit (BTS Nana to BTS Asok) is a ‘golden mile’ of restaurants and bars for hardcore party goers.
- Middle Sukhumvit (BTS Phrom Phong to BTS Ekkamai) is a fishbowl of new luxury shopping malls, high-end restaurants and ultra-modern condos.
- Upper Sukhumvit (BTS Phra Khanong to BTS Udom Suk) is a less-developed more traditional “Thai” neighbourhood.
- Silom-Sathon (or often spelled “Sathorn”) is the heart of the business district and a haven for those who prefer a more chic evening life.
- Siam-Lumphini is home to luxury shopping malls centered around the Ratchaphrasong shopping district and the embassies across from stately Lumphini Park.
- Bang Na’s gated communities and well-appointed homes are sought by families close to several international schools like Bangkok Patana.
- Ratchadaphisek area follows the MRT subway line heading north up Ratachadaphisek road.
- Victory Monument-Ari (often spelled “Aree”) follows the BTS line north towards BTS Mo Chit.
- Thon Buri is increasingly popular with explorers of unspoiled “old Siam” across the mighty Chao Phraya river.
I’ve asked clients and friends who live in each neighbourhood to write a blog, so please do read their first-hand accounts of why they choose to live where they do by clicking on the links above or visiting my Neighbourhood Guides page (Blogs for Siam-Lumphini and Bang Na are still in the works).
Wandee (Lekky) Iamyoung is the owner of 1D Property. She is both a Thai and an Australian. She moved back to Bangkok with her expat husband and their daughter after many years in Australia.